After taking a sabbatical from the obscure with his last effort The Straight Story, David Lynch brings to us an originally rejected TV series turned into feature length film with the help of the surrealist-film friendly French. Mulholland Drive is a film that starts off with the natural progression of a linear narrative co-existing with some offbeat sub-plots and part of the initial fun is figuring out the importance of the characters and how they play a role in the eventual unfolding of events. Just when the conclusion lurks in the distance, Lynch completely changes the direction of the film and delves into a Bergman-like fantasy world of perceptual distortion loaded with flashbacks and flash-forwards. What first appears to be like a plot development of mystery that keeps the viewer three steps behind ends up turning into a finale of nightmarish occurrences leaving the viewer mentally challenged. Is it a dream? What is the past, present and future? Why do the characters interchange and transform into other roles? Welcome to Lynch’s playground- a place that physically plays with the film, does not hesitate to use the medium to distort, to defy logic and to ask the viewer to accept the world of bizarre and to abandon all notions of reality. Like his chef-d’oeuvre Blue Velvet, Lynch goes heavy into symbolism, and stays true to his passion for midgets, empty stretches of road and the rippled red draped rooms. The physical and emotional contrasts of the innocent-Canadian Betty(Naomi Watts) the blond in search of her dreams/ lipstick lesbian in disguise, the Veronica-ish black-haired vixen femme fatale(Laura Elena Harring) searching for her memory give the characters an almost hypnotic feel to them. The autobiographic-film director(Justin Theroux) fighting the evils of Hollywood is part of the Lynch’s tweaked humor.
This film looks great with Peter Deming at the helm of the cinematography and sounds great with the film score by Angelo Badalamenti. There is a nice composition of camera shots, it seems as if the camera floats around from scene to scene in this dreamy state with some interesting distortion shots, some funky freeze frames and plenty of p.o.v shots to help set the mood with the accompaniment of some eerie music throughout the film to create a perfect set-up in for a tensioned-filled film. A real treat is the Spanish rendition of Roy Orbison’s “Crying” brings back some the forever memorable Rosellini/Blue Velvet moment. Lynch will continue to remain an enigma, Mulholland Drive provides us with a satisfyingly engaging film about love, mystery and murder with a rather confusing and sabotaged ending. Like we have seen before, trying to make sense of the lynch-esque narrative can become an exercise in futility and as for the blue box & key, your guess is as good as mine.